Thought Patterns by Natalie Gibb
For although they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Romans 1:21
Have you ever heard of the exercise of looking at your checkbook to see what your priorities are? It is said that wherever your money is going therein lies your priority. Today I want to use that analogy and apply it to our minds. Where do your thoughts take you? If you were to take stock in one day’s worth of thoughts, where would most of them land? Financial hardships, worry, kids, men, dating, the future, the past, the hurts, the healings -or would they land on Jesus?
Take every thought captive to obey Christ… 2 Corinthians 10:5
A few weeks back I was gathered around a table of Godly women and we were discussing why dating and men become our central focus when we are not in a relationship. Someone at the table said, “It is like a drug, this desire to have a man be a part of your life!” It resonated with me and I thought that is exactly what it is like because it consumes us. I remember the days that I was locked down in bondage with anxiety over my future. Would there ever be a man again? Am I meant to stay alone forever? Is this single life punishment for my past? We let those strongholds of lies take control of our hearts and our minds, and before we know it we are out chasing after men instead of chasing after Jesus. I use men as an example but really you could replace the word “men” with anything that consumes our thoughts.
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:9-10
We know God’s word says that our hearts are deceitful. Don’t our hearts usually control our minds? Whatever is at the forefront of our minds is what our hearts are chasing after, but we aren’t called to strive or chase. We are told to abide and rest.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. John 15:7-8
I think you can take it one step further and say that if you are chasing and striving then it becomes your central goal; your purpose even. I don’t think that is what God had in mind when He created all of us. We were created to glorify Him by fulfilling our God given purposes. At the end of my life, when I am standing in front of my Savior, I want to know that I did what I was sent to do, not waste time on distractions that the enemy has thrown at me because of my circumstances.
I thought we would try a little practical exercise to bring this blog to life. I challenge each of you to go get a ribbon, or a rubber band…go ahead…I’ll wait…put it on your wrist. Every time you look at it, immediately document your thoughts. Make a note in your apps or carry a journal to write your thoughts down. Do it for a day, or a few days, or maybe even a week. After you have finished go back and analyze what your thoughts were about. Is there a pattern or a theme? If there is, that is your central focus and possibly your purpose in your thought life. If it isn’t lining up with God and His character, go one step further and find some scripture to combat that thought pattern. Google is a wonderful tool for this. If your thought pattern is anxiety, Google scripture to combat anxiety. If your thought pattern is financial worries, Google scriptures about money. You get the idea. Then the next time you find yourself thinking about that “thing”, pull out those scriptures. For years, I carried scripture on index cards in my purse for whatever I was battling at the time. Now all you have to do is highlight, copy, and paste into the notes section on your phone. The point is to take those thoughts captive and replace them with the truth of God’s word. When you are living, standing, and thinking about His Truth then you open the door for Him to reveal your true purpose to you. It also brings a tremendous sense of peace.
My prayer for you is that God makes you acutely aware of what thought patterns need to be transformed and that your thoughts lead you to abide and rest in His presence. May we all be thinking about and chasing after Jesus so hard that our thoughts and minds are consumed by Him. When we land in that space, there is nothing that can stop us from being mighty women of God, fulfilling our purpose, and giving Him all the glory!